The late Don Hewitt, the TV legend who created 60 Minutes, reportedly has been implicated in the sexual harassment scandal being investigated by lawyers hired by the board CBS.
According to a copy of the investigators’ report obtained by the New York Times, CBS continues to pay a settlement to a woman who claimed Hewitt repeatedly sexually assaulted her and destroyed her career. Hewitt died in 2009.
CBS has paid the woman more than $5 million as part of a settlement initially reached in the 1990s and subsequently amended several times, including this year, according to the Times.
CBS’s former CEO, Les Moonves, was forced out amid accusations he harassed a number of women over the course of his career.
Because investigators found that Moonves has lied to cover up his behavior, the investigators’ report recommends that Moonves not receive the $120 million in severance pay called for in his contract, the paper said.
The two law firms are expected to submit their report to the CBS board next week.
Also being investigated is conduct at CBS news. Hewitt’s successor as executive producer of 60 Minutes, Jeff Fager, was fired in September after texting a warning to a CBS reporter who was looking into allegations about Fager’s behavior.
According to the lawyers report, 60 Minutes operated independently from the rest of CBS News, and that the show didn’t prevent inappropriate conduct by some of its top executives.
The report described several instances of improper behavior by Fager.
“This is the first I am hearing some of these allegations about my personal conduct,” Fager wrote in an email to The Times. “I’m surprised and devastated to hear them from The New York Times since I was not given the opportunity by CBS investigators to respond to their accuracy.”
During an interview with CBS’s outside investigators in September, Moonves said that CBS had paid $950,000 to a woman who made claims of age and sex discrimination and accused Fager of sexual misconduct. Investigators were not able to interview the woman, they wrote in the report, and while they could not rule it out, they found “no credible evidence” to confirm her account of misconduct, the Times said.
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